Perspectives on Digital Transformation: A Look at the Future of Automation Through the Eyes of Dell | Automation.com

Perspectives on Digital Transformation: A Look at the Future of Automation Through the Eyes of Dell

January 232017
Perspectives on Digital Transformation: A Look at the Future of Automation Through the Eyes of Dell

By Bill Lydon, Editor, Automation.com

One of the most fascinating aspects of the automation industry is the different perspectives that come along from those who are new to the world of industrial automation. The Dell EMC World 2016, in October, was one of these thought-provoking experiences. Dell Technologies, and most of their partners, are some of those newcomers to industrial automation, and have been challenging the traditional industrial automation vendor view about the digital transformation of industry. Focusing on cybersecure technology and leveraging the power of information for the benefit of all, Dell EMC World 2016 set forth a bright vision for automation’s future.

Combining all of Dell, Dell EMC, Pivotal, RSA, SecureWorks, Virtustream, and VMware groups into one technological entity,  Dell Technologies describes themselves as a collective force of innovative capabilities providing technology solutions and services, all over the world, that accelerate digital transformation.  To that end, Dell Technologies is positioning itself as a major supplier in the digitalization of the world.  Founder and CEO Michael Dell stated the combination of Dell, EMC, and VMware makes, “Dell Technologies the largest enterprise system company in the entire world.” 

One of the distinct and important focuses that Dell Technologies emphasized over the event was on industrial applications for a multitude of people and industries. Democratizing technology and leveraging the power of information was a huge point of emphasis for Michael Dell, who believes this will lead to reimaging industries in order to drive growth and, most importantly, leveling the playing field for an emergent global middle class.  “We have always believed if we build the right technology we could amplify, enhance, and enable human progress,” described Dell in his keynote, “When I look at what lies ahead I realize that we’ve really just barely begun. As the cost of making something intelligent approaches zero dollars, intelligence is being embedded into every aspect of our physical world.”

Michael Dell also exuded over the opportunity to be had in todays connected community. “ We have about 8 billion connected devices on the planet today; 15 years from now the number of devices will grow to 200 billion or more about 25 times the number of people on the planet,”  Dell enthused, “All of those devices, sensors, nodes will provide access to a host of new digital applications creating massive new sources of information.”  Dell noted a widely-held theory that everything in technology improves about 10 times every five years, with the belief that in 15 years that will be 1,000 times improvement.  “Using that information both in real-time and time series to provide better insights and build a better world, that is the opportunity of our generation and it may be the biggest opportunity in history,” exclaimed Dell.

Dell also described how, being a privately controlled company, Dell Technologies can focus on the long-term vs public companies who are forced into a more short term focus.   Due to the company's embrace of the new connected age and technologies, the company is investing in strong independent ecosystems and open architectures so users have choice, flexibility, and future proof systems.   “This is the Internet of everything, and an intelligent world pulsing with processing power and connectivity,” said Dell who believes this age represents “the next industrial revolution, the next quantum leap in human progress.”  The resulting offerings from Dell Technologies deliver solutions that span from computing at the network edge to cloud services. 

The Future Connected IoT Enterprise

As part of this effort, Dell Technologies and partners are promoting their Internet of Things Framework to connect everything, compute at all levels, and add value. 

Dell Internet of Things Framework

One of their primary IoT offerings, Dell Edge Gateways for IoT are platforms designed to deliver a range of functions including edge analytics, data refinement, and real-time control.   These multicore computers incorporate a number of communications options including wired, CAN,  and wireless, in order to facilitate the connectivity.

Dell Technologies believes computing need to be at all levels including at network edge, on premise and off premise cloud resources.

Dell Edge Gateway for IoT

Supporting Digital Transformation

Dell EMC World 2016 also saw Dell make a number of other technological announcements in support of the digital transformation of industry.

Dell EMC Analytic Insights Module

The new Dell EMC Analytic Insights Module (AIM) is one integrated solution for both cloud-native apps and big data analytics.   The Analytic Insights Module (AIM) is designed to deliver all of the software, hardware and services necessary to stand up an environment for both big data analytics and cloud native application development in days rather than weeks. The Analytic Insights Module helps organizations derive actionable insights that can be integrated into intelligent applications while ensuring security and corporate governance. “We developed Analytic Insights Module to enable customers to shift from developing and maintaining infrastructure to creating intelligent applications that transform their business,” described Peter Cutts, the Senior VP of the Hybrid Cloud Platforms, Converged Platforms and Solutions Division of Dell EMC.  The intent is that the Analytic Insights Module can enable the rapid searching, gathering and analyzing of data sources within the enterprise or in the cloud, while also accelerating the analytics cycle through key components including its Data Curator, Data Governor and Data and Analytics Catalog. By delivering self-service experience for data analysts to provision their own workspaces, the Analytic Insights Module may well have facilities generating high business value insights in hours or days versus weeks or months. 

Endpoint Data Security and Management

Dell also unveiled its Endpoint Data Security and Management portfolio encompassing cyber security and endpoint solutions from Dell, Mozy by Dell, RSA and VMware AirWatch. Designed to deliver robust data protection while unlocking the speed, agility and innovation of today’s mobile workforce, the portfolio is intended to arm organizations with the tools they need to protect data and proactively detect threats, while reducing the complexities of working with multiple vendors. The new portfolio consists of four main pillars: 

1.  Data Protection

  • Dell Data Protection | Endpoint Security Suite Enterprise provides authentication, file-based data encryption and advanced threat prevention in a single solution to enable businesses to protect their data while proactively preventing external threats including advanced persistent threats and malware. 
  • MozyEnterprise and MozyPro provide secure cloud data protection for laptops, desktops and small servers across a distributed enterprise or small to mid-size business for recovery from data loss incidents ranging from user error to ransomware and malware attacks. Mozy also enables file sync across devices such as multiple laptops, desktops and smartphones.

2.  Identity Assurance

  • RSA SecurID Access provides advanced authentication featuring context-based access control and single sign-on for secure access to web and SaaS applications, native mobile apps and traditional enterprise resources.

3.  Threat Detection and Response

  • RSA NetWitness Endpoint uses the latest in behavioral analytics and machine learning to help organizations detect and focus investigations to accelerate response and remediation to advanced persistent threats and malware that are missed by other platforms.

4.  Unified Endpoint Management

  • VMware AirWatch Unified Endpoint Management provides comprehensive, over-the-air management across all platforms including full Windows lifecycle management from the cloud. This includes configuration management, software distribution management, operating system (OS) patch management, client health and security management. AirWatch Unified Endpoint Management enables IT to deploy security patches and OS updates faster, install software more reliably and consolidate operational processes across all devices – on or off the domain and across any network. Organizations deploying both Dell Data Protection and AirWatch can report compliance from the AirWatch admin console when Dell Data Protection is active and protecting a device.

Dell's Channel Partner Program

As part of their overall effort to advance today’s automation technology, the Dell EMC Partner Program was created to provide further business opportunity for partners. The program is built on three core tenets: Simple, Predictable, and Profitable.  The program has been designed to ensure that partners have ample opportunity, business confidence and commensurate profitability regardless of their program tier.  The program will encompass the entire Dell EMC partner ecosystem, inclusive of Solution Providers, Cloud Service Providers, Global Alliances, OEM Solutions partners and distribution. As part of this full ecosystem strategy, included as well is the “Powered by Dell EMC” brand program for those businesses that embed Dell EMC technologies.

Digital Transformation Provider

The entire structure of the industrial automation industry is poised for massive change, due to the forces from IT and computing companies that are permeating throughout organizations and industry.  Technologically driven initiatives such as Industry 4.0, Industry 4.0 for Process, Industrial Internet Consortium, Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition, and The Process Automation Forum illustrate the interest in change, and Dell is just one of the companies trying to ambitiously meet the challenge head on.

That ambition was summed up by Michael Dell perfectly, “We are going to be the trusted provider of essential infrastructure for the next industrial revolution,” he declared.

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